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The Village of Richmond Hill: An Analysis of Punjabi Youth in New York City

Singh, Mandeep

Due to political, social and economic push factors in Punjab and various pull factors to the United States, a significant number of Punjabi Sikhs have immigrated to build their homes throughout the nation--particularly in the last three decades or so. Specifically, a neighborhood in Queens, Richmond Hill, New York, has a high concentration of these immigrants and is a community that can be identified as a Punjabi Sikh enclave. As this demographic group continues to grow and foster a particular social environment, the children of Punjabi immigrants have forged a unique identity in which they balance the traditional values of their family’s heritage with the intricacies of urban America. Though Punjabi immigrants moved with the hope that the next generation will have more stability and opportunity than they did in the homeland, Punjabi American teenagers and adolescents inherit their own set of gender, education and class challenges. The plethora of obstacles they face originate because of different structural, communal and cultural reasons. These problems work together to be a heavy burden on the youth of a community that is still very much assimilating into the nation’s landscape. The detrimental and arduous circumstances that Punjabi youth are in essentially threatens their ability to climb the ladder of upward social mobility their parents dreamed of and perpetuates a cycle of disempowerment for a majority of young people growing up in Richmond Hill. Although there are Punjabi youth from the community who are beginning to access the resources and education they need in order to uplift themselves and their families, much more is needed in order to develop the ability of this lower-income, first-generation group to navigate through the hurdles they face in order to experience the prosperity that their parents dreamed of.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Studies
Thesis Advisors
Linn, Meredith
Degree
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 21, 2015
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